"Is there a Madison curse for Hollywood movies?" Dean Robbins asks in "Madison in the Movies," his Dec. 4 cover story. Robbins argues that almost every big-budget project filmed on location here is an artistic failure, even if it features foolproof stars like Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts. Depp squints his way through 2009's Public Enemies, which is little more than "a blur of bank robberies and shootouts." Not even Roberts at her most radiant can save 1994's I Love Trouble, and Keanu Reeves is outrageously miscast as a brainy scientist in 1996's Chain Reaction. The one exception to the Madison curse, Robbins finds, is 1986's Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield as an eccentric millionaire who enrolls in a version of the UW-Madison. "Dangerfield puts over the material with perfect timing, exuberant physicality and probably the funniest faces ever made in Madison."
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